Almost every leading contender for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) is among the 102 3-year-olds nominated to the 78th running of the $750,000Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) to be run on Saturday, April 13 during Keeneland's spring meeting. Heading the list of eligibles for the 1 1/8-mile race are Starlight Stable's impressive Florida Derby (gr. I) winner Harlan's Holiday and Select Stable's game Louisiana Derby (gr. II) victor Repent, both trained by Lexington native Kenny McPeek.
Other prominent nominees include Edmund Gann's Medaglia d'Oro, upset winner of Santa Anita's San Felipe Stakes (gr. II) on March 17; Amerman Racing Stables' Siphonic, winner of the 2001 Lane's End Breeders' Futurity (gr.II) and Hollywood Futurity (gr. I); Michael Tabor's Mayakovsky, who thrust himself into the Derby picture by capturing the Gotham Stakes (gr. III); and John C. Oxley's Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. I) winner Booklet.
A race rich in history, the Blue Grass has been used as a springboard to victory in the Kentucky Derby by 22 horses including Thunder Gulch, Sea Hero, Strike the Gold, Unbridled, Alysheba, Gato del Sol, Spectacular Bid and Riva Ridge.
The Blue Grass will be televised live on NBC from 4:30-6 p.m. (EDT).
Harlan's Holiday and Booklet, who is trained by John Ward,Jr., are expected to renew their rivalry in the Blue Grass. Booklet has won two of the three meetings--the Fountain of Youth and Holy Bull Stakes (gr. III)--but Harlan's Holiday was a decisive winner of the Florida Derby last Saturday. Mayakovsky was the prompt choice in Aqueduct's Gotham for trainer Patrick Biancone, defeating fellow Blue Grass nominee Saarland.
Also eligible to the Blue Grass are Kinsman Stable's Blue Burner; McCaffrey, Toffan, Farish and Goodman's Came Home; Pin Oak Farm's Equality; Jeri and Sam Knighton's Request For Parole; Jenny and Sid Craig and Halo Farms' Yougottawanna; and Danthebluegrassman, owned by Mike Pegram.
Here is the complete list of nominations:
Benny the Hawk
Bunk N Ted
Carson City Slew
Cash in Hand
Corner The Market
Hammer It Home
Like A Hero
Request For Parole
Smok 'n Frolic
Steadfast and True
U S S Tinosa